215 cm

Period: 1st – 3rd century AD
Origin: Rome, Italy
Materials: Bronze

Statue of Septimius Severus

This statue is one of a few large Roman bronzes to have been preserved. It was found in Rome in 1643 during construction commissioned by Pope Urban VIII on the Janiculum, one of Rome’s seven hills.

The fragmented statue, which is missing its right arm and head, was soon identified as Emperor Septimius Severus and restored as such by the baroque sculptor, Paolo Naldini, one of Bernini’s collaborators.

The idealised body is that of a man who is nude, save for a loin cloth.

His tall ornate boots with folding flaps, called mullei, feature lion’s heads. This type of sculpture points to an emperor, or the personification of Rome.

The head is a perfect copy of the main portrait type of Septimius Severus.

The restored arm, however, is not based on an ancient model.

The sculpture belonged to the Barberini family and was one of the most famous statues in Rome for many centuries. The Belgian state acquired it in 1904 with the support of a group of patrons.

Come see this object with your own eyes in our Rome collection.

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